The snow is melting and temperatures are getting warm, which can only mean one thing – it’s time for some gravel biking! The wide-open rolling landscape of the Yampa Valley exists because of our ranching and agriculture history and this terrain makes for some of the best gravel and road riding in Colorado. Pedal our roads and you’ll be amazed at the 600+ miles of dirt and hard-packed gravel roads for you to explore that are easily accessible from town. Gravel routes in Steamboat Springs range from quicker out and backs to 40+ mile circuits, from mixed dirt and road riding filled with epic hill climbs to century rides. Opt for a quick cruise or prepare for an all-day adventure.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of four of our favorite spring and early summer rides with a variety of options for everyone. Happy riding!
1. CATAMOUNT OUT & BACK
Length: 10.86 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Ride-able: April to October
If you’re a beginner at road and gravel riding, fear not! This ride is perfect for early season riding and great for beginners looking for an intro to road riding with a little bit of dirt. This enjoyable ride takes you past a private, scenic 530-acre lake with sweeping views. Bonus! Stop for lunch at Catamount Ranch & Club Lake House Grille (open to the public) before making your way back to town.
Route: From Steamboat Springs, head south on CR 14 (River Road). At the junction of CR 35, veer left across railroad tracks staying on CR 14 (now called Hudspeth Lane) and continue to intersection with Hwy. 131. Head left onto 131 to CR 18 and ride around Lake Catamount until the pavement ends. This is your turnaround.
2. AIRPORT PLUS GRAVEL GRINDER LOOP
Length: 21.86 miles | Difficulty: moderate/intermediate | Ride-able: May to October
This route is equal parts road and gravel/dirt road and peacefully meanders west through the countryside dotted with ranches before returning to town. This loop is great for riders really starting to get into road/gravel riding in the Yampa Valley.
Route: From downtown Steamboat Springs head west on Highway 40 to CR 129 (Elk River Road). Veer left onto the dirt CR 44. Continue over the Elk River toward Sleeping Giant until CR 44 intersects Highway 40. Turn left onto Highway 40 then a quick right onto dirt road CR 33A until intersecting CR 33 (Twentymile Road). Turn left onto Twentymile Road and make the easy spin on pavement back to town.
3. EMERALD CIRCUIT
Length: 27.9 miles | Difficulty: moderate/intermediate | Ride-able: April to October
This ride is a Routt County mixed-gravel classic. This more challenging ride is mostly paved with a little bit of dirt road adventure that takes you through ranchlands with spectacular sights. The best part? You can start and end this ride right in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs making it easy to stop in town for some after riding fuel and happy hour.
Route: From downtown Steamboat Springs, turn west on 13th Street and proceed on CR 33 (Twentymile Road). Take a left onto CR 43, where the dirt begins. Follow around the back of Emerald Mountain and eventually bear right onto CR 41. After a steep descent to Hilton Gulch schoolhouse, turn left back onto the pavement and continue down, merging with CR 35, then left on CR 14 (River Road).
4. STAGECOACH & OAK CREEK LOOP
Length: 43 miles | Difficulty: Intermediate/difficult | Ride-able: April to October
If you’re looking for a longer, country touring ride then this loop is for you! This ride takes you through rolling ranchlands and includes a scenic climb up Yellow Jacket Pass. The best part? Experience sweeping lake and canyon views as you pass Stagecoach Reservoir.
Route: From parking areas at Howelsen Ice Arena or Rodeo Grounds just across 5th Street from downtown Steamboat Springs, head south on CR 14 (River Road). At the junction of CR 35, veer left across railroad tracks staying on CR 14 (now called Hudspeth Lane) and continue to intersection with Hwy. 131. Head right onto 131 then left back onto CR 14, heading to Stagecoach. Ride over Yellow Jacket Pass past Stagecoach Reservoir, continuing past CR 16 and staying on CR 14. Turn right at intersection with Hwy. 131 and head into Oak Creek. From Oak Creek stay on Hwy. 131 back toward town. Turn left onto CR 14 (Hudspeth Lane) and ride back in on River Road.
GEAR SHOPS AND RENTALS IN STEAMBOAT SPRINGS
Now that you’ve chosen your ride, you may need some extra gear or some work on your bike to get it tuned for the season. Steamboat has great bike and gear shops that will help set you up for success! Check out Ski & Bike Kare and Ski Haus for bike and other gear rentals, bike maintenance, or to buy some new bike clothes and accessories for this year! Their experts are ready to get you ready for whatever ride you choose.